The secret junior footballer part 5

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From inside the dressing room – The Secret ‘Junior’ Footballer

Question of the week

“What’s the best advice you have ever been given, and who gave it?”

The best advice I’ve ever been given, tough one hopefully it’s still to come as any advice up until now hasn’t got me as far as I would have liked in football. In all seriousness though it’s probably a clichéd one liner – “football is easier when you enjoy it”. I had a 6 month spell under a manager and he re-iterated this to me and the squad every single week: the result, an unfancied league win and probably the most prolific period of my career. There was nothing special or complicated about what he done but he got us playing for him and working as hard as I have ever worked.

Individually every player felt this way and that led to a team fighting for each other and with everyone pulling in the same direction and trying to play with freedom and a smile on our faces we had some success. I often struggle to carry this advice with me and get very frustrated or down at football, I really do wish I could enjoy it more than I do sometimes. I dare say if I did I may have had a bit more success, so that would be the best advice I could give anyone, just enjoy it. There are more downs than ups in this game so it’s crucial you enjoy what you can as before you know it you may not be playing any longer.

 

Women In Football

This week’s topic has been fueled by a story I read about on twitter, it was a picture of the Celtic physio giving a player treatment and her underwear was visible above her trousers. This picture was obviously shared all over the internet and many jokes etc were made, it got me thinking are we stuck in the dark ages? Why are women still objectified in football? Why it is widely accepted and will it ever change?

Now I know if people knew who I was, I would take a lot of stick for this which in itself shows just how far behind we are in football in terms of gender equality. If we look at the instance above would it have even been noticed by anyone if a male physio was treating a player and his boxers were visible, would it be an issue or even discussed? I don’t think so.

I myself have in the past been disparaging towards women who have been involved in the football and made jokes, I don’t for a second want to paint myself as an angel but I do want to try and encourage people to see where we go wrong and perhaps be more welcoming to females who only want to be the best they can be. I guess this comes from me becoming a father recently, and while I have a wee boy I do long to have a girl one day and should she ever want to be involved with football I want her to be comfortable and welcomed with open arms.

When a female comes into the changing room in any capacity, you can guarantee the first thing considered is how she looks. Is she good looking? Her abilities aren’t often considered and that’s wholly unfair to the hard work she may have put in to get where she is.

The most popular position taken by women in my experience has always been as a physio or sports therapist, and that’s all well and good if that’s their chosen career path but I want to encourage more referees, coaches, managers etc. I also want to ask why aren’t there more already? Let’s look at one instance, Shelley Kerr manager of Stirling University in the Lowland League and by all accounts doing a grand old job. Shelley has 59 caps for Scotland and played at the highest level down south with Arsenal, she’s won everything in the game as a player so why was it a shock when she got a job coaching a male team when she clearly has the credentials? Why aren’t their more like her involved in management and coaching? My hunch tells me they wouldn’t be widely accepted, committees, players and fans wouldn’t have it. It would take a brave, brave club to appoint a women coach or manager and I want society to move away from this line of thinking.

Eddie Wolecki-Black was manager of Glasgow City for many a year and won many trophies in women’s football and he was accepted with no questions asked. When he left his post, Scott Booth took over and again wrapped up another title for the club once again it was just treated as normal, could you imagine this happening in the men’s game?
I want my children to grow up in a world where it doesn’t matter what sex you are, if you fit the job you get the job no questions asked. Maybe it’s a fairytale way of thinking but it shouldn’t be. I urge players, fans, anyone involved in football ignore the gender of a person and just assess the qualities they have. Let’s give everyone a fair chance to make our game better!

Result of the week

Tranent Juniors 2 – 1 Whitburn Juniors

A huge result in the lower echelons of the East region this week as Tranent Juniors held off their closest title challengers Whitburn in a tightly contested affair. Tranent have now put themselves 13 points clear and although they have played 4 games more I wouldn’t bet against them lifting the title. It’s now a HUGE ask for Whitburn to overturn the points deficit and it all but looks confirmed Tranent will win promotion but not only that a trophy as a reward for what has no doubt been an excellent season. Whitburn need to win their remaining 5 games and hope Tranent slip up in their final game to win the title and given Tranent have won 17 of their 21 league games that seems unlikely. With so much at stake in this game at the weekend, for Tranent to come out on top would have been a huge relief for their players and supporters. For Whitburn it will have been a blow but promotion remains a very real prospect so they will have to pick themselves up and get back to winning games.

Game of the weekend

Hurlford United Vs Pollok

This weekend the semi-final first legs of our national cup competition take place, so it’s only natural I discuss one of these matches as game of the weekend. Two of the West Region’s big guns go head to head, Pollok rejuvenated after a season out of the top flight, Hurlford who have seemed to come from nowhere in the last few years to become a successful side competing in the later end of competitions on a regular basis. Hurlford of course recent winners in this competition in 2014 will be looking to put a bit of daylight between themselves and Pollok in their home leg, with the return at Newlandsfield coming a week later. Pollok will be delighted if they can avoid defeat and perhaps even sneak a victory away from home. Both managers have won this completion in the recent past and a host of players in both sides have their own winner’s medals already on the mantelpiece, this makes for a tantalising affair as plenty people involved know how to get over the finish line, it’s crucial to get off to a good start with a favourable result in the first leg so I expect a cracker.

As always any feedback is welcome and I can be contacted at thesecretjuniorfootballer@gmail.com.
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